There's nothing even slightly metaphorical about the name of Beau's on the River. With a glassed-in dining room jutting out over the rapids on pillars, it's about as literally on the water as a place can get without being a boat.
This sister restaurant to Beau's Grille opened only in May 2013, and while the views may be all new, the cooking has been a long time coming. Akron native and executive chef Billy Thurman started working in the restaurant business at age 14, and by age 25, he attained his first position as executive chef at The Twilight Cafe in Florida. Eventually, he moved back home to be closer to his mother and sisters, and he brought his wife, children, and 18 years of experience along with him.
Chef Thurman puts that experience to work in the kitchen at Beau's on the River, where he helps craft an expansive menu of inventive fine dining. He coats ahi tuna with coconut sticky rice and pairs grilled chicken with lime cream and corn salsa. And of course, as guests dine, floor-to-ceiling windows frame the majesty of the tumbling falls and the hungry phalanx of fish fighting against the currents for fallen crumbs.
Saffron Patch in the Valley makes Indian cuisine accessible to Akronites?but no less complex or authentic. There are a few intensely spicy dishes on the menu, such as chicken vindaloo and lamb madras, but for the most part there's nothing tongue-searing; kids even get their own menu of mild but not dumbed-down options. Curry powder's more or less an afterthought among the 38 herbs and spices in regular use in Saffron Patch's kitchen. In addition to mesquite-fired, tandoori-baked chicken and lamb, you'll find seafood options such as smoked salmon and mahi mahi. Vegetarians can savor classic dishes such as cubes of paneer cheese in creamy spinach, made by in-house culinary cubists, and charbroiled eggplant.
Both Saffron Patch locations are tucked away into unexpected residential blocks. The excitement of stumbling onto a hidden treasure makes the spaces?decked in low-lit tones of brick red, sunset orange, and, naturally, saffron yellow?feel all the warmer.
Once a ramshackle ice-cream store with a loyal Akron following, today Zack's Fire and Ice serves barbecue along with its cones with help from new owner and former pastor Randy Stewart and his wife, Kathy. The Stewarts have lived in the Southwest and up and down the East Coast, so rather than adhere strictly to any one regional barbecue style, they synthesize their favorite elements from a number of traditions to create an eatery with the welcoming spirit of a backyard cookout. The kitchen slow smokes brisket, ribs, pork, and turkey breast and slathers them with sauces such as honey and apple bourbon. Frozen treats such as sorbet and frozen yogurt stay chilly at the ice-cream counter alongside hard-packed ice cream in flavors such as pumpkin pecan, oatmeal cookie, and Superman, designed to freeze enemies’ brains faster than a speeding bullet.
Beginning with nothing more than a modest storefront equipped with a set of custard machines built in 1910, Pav?s Creamery has anointed a bevy of cups and cones with sweet scoops throughout its more than 45-year history. The shop still churns out the old-timey confections with the same machines, and staffers carry on the tradition by scooping loads of flavors into brownie bowls, banana splits, and milk shakes, which travel up straws and human-size hummingbird beaks in a range of creative flavors. Its decadent creations have earned Pav's Creamery multiple awards, including Best Ice Cream 2011?2013, Akron Beacon Journal, and Best Ice Cream 2013-2014, Akron Canton Hot List.
Restaurant entrepreneur Ken Stewart traveled to Italy to gather the ingredients and recipes that he would use to build Tre Belle's illustrious menu of authentic Italian dishes. For appetizers, taste buds do tarantellas in anticipation of spicy stuffed peppers ($9.95), or the equally enticing artichoke with lemon aioli ($9.95). As aromatic as it is flavorful, the signature Tre Belle deluxe pizza ($14.99) is a circular tabletop of dough fixed with sausage, banana peppers, mushrooms, olives, mozzarella, and fresh basil––cooked over a wood fire for a distinctly delectable taste and instant pizza-based nostalgia. The Chicken Milanese ($15.95) is a sautéed and breaded bird adorned in a George Clinton style headdress of arugula, tomatoes, lemon, and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. A glass of Pinot Grigio ($7.95) makes a loving companion to an order of lamb ragu ($15.95), pappardelle pasta mingled with savory sauce and cooked in lamb stock.
Crowned the Best Irish Pub of 2010 by CityVoters, Brubaker's serves up an extensive menu of pub edibles alongside a lively atmosphere and TVs sporting the latest in athletic endeavors. Quiet nagging hunger mufflers with appetizers such as barbecue-chicken potato skins ($5.75) and the super pretzel with mustard, salsa, or nacho cheese ($2), or tongue-dive into a specialty dish, such as the chicken cordon "bru" ($6.75), the buffalo-chicken wrap ($5.50), or the mega dog ($4). Brubaker's burritos wrap various fillings in the fresh-baked arms of nine-inch tortillas and come in varietals such as the Popeye ($5.50), a hulkifying combination of spinach-artichoke dip, tomatoes, onions, shredded cheddar, and ranch dressing. Brubaker's also offers a wide-ranging beer selection to indulge the fermented fantasies of Prohibition-era taste buds.